The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns will be without a major part of their team this weekend as they head to the 2020 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships without Sandy Latrace.
“She’s far and away the best athlete on this team,” said teammate Andreas Troschke. “So her loss is going to be pretty big. We’re going to feel that for sure.”
The decision was made on Monday that Latrace will opt out of the national meet due to an ankle injury, preventing the fourth-year Horns athlete from defending her three-time national long jump title, as well as her 2019 U SPORTS gold in the 60-metre dash.
“Sandy’s had a great season,” said Pronghorns head coach Larry Steinke.
“It’s pretty disappointing for her, disappointing for the rest of the team as well, morale-wise.”
The Horns will now head to Edmonton with a group of six athletes, all competing in throwing events.
Four men from the U of L will look to dominate in weight throw, making up a third of the field.
“I think that we could make up… I think two or three of us could make top eight,” said Troschke, “which would be very huge.”
With Latrace out for the Pronghorns, Troschke will be the Lethbridge athlete with the most eyes on him. He will enter Thursday ranked second in the country.
“I’d love to be No. 1,” he laughed. “I won two years ago and then last year I finished third, so that was definitely a humbling experience.”
“When you win in your first year as a rookie, you feel like you’re going to be on top for all five years. So to get beat, definitely I think kicked my butt into gear.”
Troschke’s longest throw this season was 17.95 metres and he trails only Joey Lussier of Laval University in the U SPORTS rankings.
Joining Troschke in the top twelve are teammates Brayden Klippenstein, Xavier Crosby and Ben Ingvaldson.
Ingvaldson is the lone Pronghorn competing in shot put, entering competition with the No. 3 national ranking.
Two female athletes will round out the Horns squad, with Madeline Szabo and Caitlyn Bailes looking to move up the pack in women’s weight throw; the event which will kick off competition on Thursday afternoon.
The University of Alberta is hosting the national championship, which will wrap up on Saturday.